The New York Islanders placed Jaroslav Halak on waivers on Friday afternoon.
Halak had a 6-8-5 record this season with a 3.23 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage, but General Manager Garth Snow said that the move was about solving the Islanders crowded crease. The team had been carrying three goalies in Halak, Thomas Greiss and JF Berube.
"We want to give Thomas and JF an opportunity to play, get ice time," Snow said. "Obviously get a chance to get some wins that we desperately need."
Snow said he still thinks Halak - who set the Islanders single-season wins record (38) in 2014-15 - is a quality goalie and had played in some big games for the team. If Halak clears waivers at noon (eastern time) on Saturday, he'll be assigned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Snow said he wants to see Halak work hard and set an example with the Sound Tigers.
"Coming to the rink and being the hardest worker, having a great attitude, that's something that doesn't matter who you are and what position you play and what role you have in the organization, that's what we expect out of everyone in this organization," Snow said. "We expect nothing less form Jaro in that regard."
Injuries limited Halak to 36 games in the 2015-16 season and was the catalyst for the Islanders acquiring Berube off of waivers. Greiss and Berube were the Islanders goaltending duo to finish the season when Halak suffered a season-ending groin injury on March 8.
"Obviously last year [Halak] got hit with the injury bug a little bit, but that first year he was an all-star and we're looking for him to get back to that level of play," Snow said.
Greiss and Berube will be the Islanders duo going forward this season. Greiss is 8-5-0 this season with a 2.48 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage while Berube is 0-2-1 with a 3.27 GAA and a .901 SV%.
Snow said Berube, who has only appeared in four games this season, will see an increased workload in the Islanders remaining 47 games.
"[After the break] it becomes a condensed schedule again and you need more than one goalie to carry the mail," Snow said. "It's not the NHL of old when a goalie could play 70, 75 games, there are just too many games in a short span of time."
Ultimately, Snow said he hopes the decision serves as a spark for the Islanders.
"You're looking for ways to help the team any way that you can, that may be to get a boost of confidence, build some momentum and ultimately win hockey games," Snow said. "Thomas and JF have played well this year.